Mark Battell's timing could not have been much worse.
The week after he opened up Tarantella – a white-tablecloth, family-style Italian dining restaurant on Route 112 in Port Jefferson Station – Long Island's biggest storm to hit in more than a lifetime touched down.
Superstorm Sandy hit nine days after Battell opened up Tarantella on Oct. 22, and just as he was trying to get his new business off the ground, eating out was in the back of many local's minds, who were instead concerned with picking fallen trees up from their yard, pumping out their basements, helping out family and friends as they picked up the pieces, or finding enough gas for their commute to work.
So after making at run at Tarentella for about a month, Battell decided to start back up again himself and get things back into place.
Soon – possibly as close as next week – Battell plans on opening Maroon, a more casual-style bar and pub in the space where Tarantella didn't catch on.
"I wasn't about to lick my wounds and walk away," he said on Wednesday. "I could have stayed open, but it wasn't going to catch on. Everyone was worried about getting heat and gas the week after I opened. And that time of year is never a good time to open up anyways. So we ceased operations in the first week of December."
Batell said he took the experience as Tarantella as a sign that a more casual operation might be a better fit for the location, which has seen several incarnations as eateries over the years, recently the Cattleman's Steakhouse and Rib City Ale House.
Using the existing awnings partly as a guide, Battell went with the simple "Maroon."
"I've found one-word names tend to be easy to remember, and the color scheme worked I think," he said.
The menu will consist of hand-crafted, eight-dollar burgers, as well as typical pub fare such as wings and appetizers. Breaking from the family-style theme, entertainment at Maroon will include live music, comedy, trivia, mystery theater and more. Hours will be from 11 a.m. to midnight or 1 a.m. on weekdays, and until 2 a.m. on weekends.